Island Cricket

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stumped by PJ

by Damith S.




A recent poll conducted online revealed that most cricket fans out there reckon that our boy PJ is the best man behind the sticks going around.

Which I would say is a fairly accurate analysis when you consider his keeping ability. When the Indians, including their much loathed 'Fab 4' , went cross-eyed trying to read Mendis and Murali, who will from here on be referred as MnM, (not the mint, but the bowlers), PJ seemed to pick up what the two 'freaks' were doing with constant ease.

Which leaves me dumbfounded as to his complete ineptness ,it seems, in hitting the ball off the square. The man's managed to earn himself a spot in the team solely on his keeping ability, which says a lot about his keeping but unfortunately for Sri Lanka his lack of runs will surely tell sooner rather than later.

PJ usually comes in at number 6 or 7 and by no means can that be considered the tail end of our batting line up. At least not in the modern game. His lack of runs needs to catch the eye of the selectors who must be mindful that he is not indispensable. Sangakkara can be used at any given time to take up the gloves when we need to bring in the additional batsmen/all-rounder or bowler (my personal choice but thats for another day.) The notion of 'off loading' Kumar is a bit dodgy if PJ keeps failing to notch up the runs.

Expecting PJ to to average around 30-35 cannot be asking him too much. Mark Boucher averages 30, Mcullum 31. I believe these are fair comparisons as both Boucher and Mcullum fulfill similar roles for their teams and bat at similar positions.

From what I have seen PJ has the technique to get the runs, its possibly due to a lack of confidence and nerves that get him out.

A day will come when Sri Lanka needs to rely on Jayawardene getting the runs for them and on the evidence of his 21 tests so far that seems highly unlikely to happen. However, I think PJ should be given the opportunity to prove himself while the team it self needs to realise that this is one of the areas that needs to improve going forward if SL are to challenge the big boys in the pegging order overseas.

PJ's stats

Career summary
v Australia 2007-2007 2 38 37 9.50 0 2 2
v Bangladesh 2002-2007 5 139 120* 46.33 1 13 5
v England 2007-2007 3 150 79 37.50 0 6 2
v India 2008-2008 3 107 49 26.75 0 3 5
v New Zealand 2006-2006 2 80 37 20.00 0 3 0
v Pakistan 2000-2000 1 - - - - - -
v South Africa 2006-2006 2 72 42 36.00 0 6 1
v West Indies 2008-2008 1 26 21 26.00 0 4 0
v Zimbabwe 2004-2004 2 4 4 4.00 0 4 0


7 Comments:

Pratheepan said...

I dont think that Sanga should take up gloves for tests. He is immensely valuable when playing solely as a batsman and his averages corroborate this fact.

PJ was awesome in the Idea Cup Test Series against India. The balance of the team looks good too and even better when some of the injured pacers return!

doctordeath said...

Ur right..Pj needs to start scorin runs sooner rather than later..if he continues batting inconsistently,the selectors are gonna be forced to chuck him out and get a good all rounder in,while handing the gloves back to sanga..

Damith S. said...

Pradeepan > The sides balance would be darling if we could fit in a extra batsmen of a proper all rounder (Not the Maharoof type pls)

If PJ starts scoring more runs the above statement will self destruct in....

doctordeath> Yes, keeper runs are important. We certainly wouldnt want our boy to end up like the pommie git Ambrose now would we?

Damith S. said...

urh..that should read an extra batsmen or a proper all rounder.

Damn your lack of runs messing with my head PJ.

Hilal said...

Good opportunity to welcome Damith He will be contributing to this Blog as a writer and this should give me more time to work on videos.

Anonymous said...

You're joking right? Boucher is the undisputed king behind the stumps look at the number of dismissals he has the record.

Damith S. said...

Hilal> Thanks!

Annon> I reckon boucher would be the closest challenger that PJ has, however, SA are renowned for their pace attacks so as any keeper would say its easier to stand back to quicks than up to the stumps for spinners. A task PJ does tirelessly and with so much ease its mind boggling.

Would boucher be as good to Murali and now Mendis? You tell me.

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